Archive for August, 2009

TWD #33: Applesauce Spice Bars

August 18, 2009

I made some variations to this recipe, chosen by Something Sweet by Karen, partly due to necessity, mostly due to an urge to experiment.  

I like to try new things and figured this was an ideal recipe to play around with, since the ingredients aren’t expensive and I wasn’t making it for an event.   Plus, I’m always telling my kids, “don’t knock it, til you try it,” whether “trying it” means eating sushi, or joining the golf team.  (Rea is one of two girls!)   I did start to second guess this wisdom the other day when Rea told me the following:

R:  “Oh, I know why L. and J. broke up.”  (L and J are 15 years old) 

J:  “Why?”       

R:  “I can’t say, you’ll give me a look.”  

J:  “Oh, you have to tell me now.  I won’t give you a look!”

R:  “Well, L. gave D. head, so J. broke up with her.”  (D. is another 15 year old) 

J:   (mouth a-gape)

R:  “You are giving me a look!   I told you so!”

J:  (still gaping)

R:   “I know what you are thinking!   No, I haven’t  And NO, I WON’T!   GROSSSSSSSSSSS!”

(Funny enough, that wasn’t what I was thinking, I was still in shock about the sexual activities of two kids slightly older than Rea,  I hadn’t even gotten to the point of worrying about her.)       

So am I a hyprocrite to be thankful that my fourteen-year-old daughter isn’t so willing to try new things, afterall?    I’m also thankful that she feels close enough to me to discuss something so potentially embarrassing.  (Warning to any parents of younger ones,  the “birds and bees” discussion is a piece of, uhh, cake compared to discussing fellatio, pornography, etc…)

Enough of the anecdotes and back to the real reason we are all here.  Cake.   I made this cake last night, subbing in a cup of granulated sugar with two tablespoons of molasses due to a lack of brown sugar in my cupboard.

I also decided to follow Holly’s excellent suggestion on the Dorie P&Q forum.   She browned the butter.  I love the nutty, rich taste of browned butter and thought it would be great in this recipe.  It definitely was.   (Of course, now I want to make the recipe as written to compare the two.)  

Furthermore, I had a partial bag of Hershey’s cinnamon chips wallowing in my cupboard, so I decided to add about a 1/2 cup of those to the batter and to top the glaze with more pecans (there were already toasted pecans in the batter)  that I toasted in a little browned butter and sprinkled with sea salt.

While I loved my variations, I’m also sure that the recipe as written is wonderful, perfect for the upcoming apple season.   If you are interested in this quick and easy recipe, please buy the book, or visit Karen’s site.

Applesauce Spice Cake

Okay, it doesn’t look so appealing. I slightly under-baked mine AND covered it before it was completely cool (I was tired after an evening of back-to-school clothes shopping) so it got a little mushy from the condensation.   Next time I would bake it the longer time (28 minutes, rather than 23) and let it cool completely before covering.


TWD #32: Brownie Buttons

August 11, 2009

Brownie Buttons 2

I’ve made today’s TWD recipe, chosen by Jayma of “Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen,” three times in the last week or so.     My kids have benefited from my disorganized photography lack of skills.    

The first batch I made strictly following the recipe.  I didn’t include the optional zest and did have a slight issue with them sticking to the mini-muffin pan.  This batch was eaten before it managed to get photographed. 

The second batch I added the orange zest (yum), and doubled the recipe but made the buttons a bit bigger, filling 24 mini-muffin cups (the doubled recipe should have yielded 32).  This time I sprayed the pan with cooking spray and floured it.  No sticking and the orange zest addition was delicious.   They weren’t super orange-y; it just added an undertone that was great.  This batch I managed to photograph BUT the photos were “lost”  (ie:  accidentally deleted by my husband.)

Batch three, I baked at 9:30 last night.  In my stifling hot kitchen.  No air!   When I unwrapped the chocolate it was bendy and the white chocolate was the texture of softened butter.   I did the initial steps for this batch in the microwave.  (See above: super hot kitchen!)  I melted the chocolate with the butter and brown sugar on medium heat in 30 second increments; it was ready in about a minute and a half.   Lacking an orange, I left out the zest.  But, again, I doubled the recipe, greased and floured the pan, and made 24 mini-muffins.   I let this batch cool and then refrigerated them overnight.    I think they were “fudgier” than previous batches, possibly due to the chilling time.  

This morning, at 7 am,  while watching “*Reefer Madness,”  I dipped the brownie buttons in white chocolate and added sprinkles.   AND took photos:

 Brownie Buttons Dipping 1

 Brownie Buttons dipping 2


This batch Brownie Buttons 1 is headed to the grade school secretary’s office.  Nothing like buttering up the staff before the school year begins.

*I had to watch “Reefer Madness” after seeing the satellite guide description “Smoking marijuana leads to wild piano playing, hysteria and death.”

TWD #31: Banana Bundt Cake

August 4, 2009

F:  “I don’t want to go for a physical.”

C:  “Sorry, but they need to check your little butt out.”

F:  (horrified) “I thought they didn’t do THAT til you are forty!”

bundt cake pan

Speaking of holes; I love bundt cakes.  They are probably my favorite casual cake to make: they are portable, usually don’t require frosting (which I find I love a little TOO much to be healthy) and I love the moistness. 

(Did I really just say “I love the moistness?”  That sounds soooo wrong.)

The one thing I don’t like about bundt cakes?   Buttering the pan.  Even with a huge amount of buttering, mine always seems to stick.  This time I tried a new method; I buttered the pan, stuck it in the fridge (for the butter to “firm up” and become opaque) and re-buttered it.   The darn cake still stuck!  

Next time I’m going to cheat and use cooking spray and flour.  (I have a theory that the water content in butter evaporates, leaving minute unbuttered parts that allow the cake to stick.)

Anyway, I followed the recipe as written, with one addition.  Mini chocolate chips.  About a cups worth.  My daughter loves a marbled banana bundt cake that I make, so I figured she would welcome the addition of chocolate.  (The linked recipe is really good, very similar to Dorie’s, but with slightly less butter and one more egg, if I’m remembering right.) 

Plus, I made the cake right before her ten day canoe trip (no bathrooms!), so I wanted it to be a special treat for her.

I told the kids the cake was in the oven and my nephew said “What kind of cake did you say?”   “Banana Bundt Cake.”  “Banana BUTT Cake?”   

Thirteen year olds are a laugh riot.

The cake was great with chocolate chips and my daughter did love it.  Now that she’s gone on her trip (pooping in the woods!  Oh, did I say that out-loud?)  I decided to make the cake again, sans chocolate chips but with the “playing around” lemon glaze.  

I had never tried banana with lemon but it was very, very good. 

This cake is a definite winner.  A great way to use up overly ripe bananas and a simple recipe that doesn’t require any special ingredients.  (The first time I used the sour cream, the second time vanilla yogurt and both were equally delicious.)    Its tastiness surpasses the sum of its parts.  

Please take the time to visit Mary, The Food Librarian, to read her blog post and view the recipe.  You won’t be disappointed.

This is where my photo should be.  But I just received an email from my husband:

” disappeared.  I uploaded them and then went to send them and the file vanished.”

So no photos, again, sorry!